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Paul C Lauterbur
Centre for Advanced Study professor of chemistry, bioengineering, biophysics and computational biology and distinguished university professor of medical information sciences at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and joint recipient of the Nobel Prize in medicine for discoveries concerning magnetic resonance imaging

Can education, or just disillusionment with endless self-destructive conflicts, make us collectively weary of tribal conflicts between sects, ethnic groups and national governments? These activities seem to be more a matter of, for example, collective identity than theology in religion - where theology rationalises instinctive hostility. The same psychology is seen in excessive devotion to sports teams or to entertainment celebrities. Some societies exist for long periods in some places with only low levels of such fanaticism. Could we learn from those examples how to avoid the extreme manifestations? My own work is now on the transition from chemistry to biology, with the hope of turning the old question of the origin of life from one of religious or philosophical speculation to one of a testable scientific hypothesis.



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